Cooperation is critical for the recovery of Pacific Island aviation

ICAO Secretary General warns the Pacific Islands not to take go-it-alone approaches during their recoveries from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pacific Island

Stressing the heightened vulnerability of island societies to external shocks, ICAO Secretary General, Dr. Fang Liu, explained to a video conference of Pacific Islands Director Generals that cooperation will be integral to their air transport recoveries post COVID-19.

“As we’ve learned after decades of global air connectivity generating significant new sources of tourism and trade revenue among Pacific Island economies, we all need each other to be prosperous and sustainable,” Dr. Liu said. “For your recoveries to be truly successful, your goal should be to assure not only your state’s local recovery, but also the recoveries of your neighbours and their neighbours.”

The video conference targeted Pacific Island states with consideration of air transport’s role in addressing the unique challenges they face, whether with respect to limited natural resources, narrow-based economies and extended distance from major markets.

Dr. Liu also cautioned against countries taking go-it-alone approaches to their recoveries, noting that “if a common set of goals is not established among all the stakeholders being negatively impacted by COVID-19, the strength we normally derive from our diversity could quickly devolve into unhelpful duplication and inefficiencies”.

She further underscored that “jump-starting the aviation engines of Pacific Island economies will need to be part of a broader recovery consensus by governments, and therefore subject to highest-level political buy-in”.

On this point, she encouraged the Directors General “to continue their efforts in highlighting to your respective national ministries that a return to full air transport connectivity is critical to successful COVID-19 recoveries,” and reviewed ICAO’s own efforts to ensure a regionally and globally coordinated air connectivity recovery.

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